Help decide what to do with empty prisons

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empty prison cells
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  • Nobody home.

A few years ago, prisons were overcrowded.

We just couldn't get enough of them. Now, we have the opposite problem: Prisons sitting empty. There are — as the press release below notes — a variety of reasons for this. But it's safe to say that new laws that have given drug offenders a chance to get treatment instead of spend time in the slammer have contributed.

The state plans to hold a meeting Tuesday in Colorado Springs to talk about what should be done with empty facilities.

More information is below:

Public Meetings to be Held to Discuss Future Prison Utilization

DENVER — Thursday, May 30, 2013 — During the week of June 10 - 14, the Colorado departments of Local Affairs and Corrections and the Governor’s Offices of Economic Development & International Trade and State Planning & Budgeting, will co-host meetings in communities across the state which are home to a state public or private contract prison. The purpose of the meetings is to discuss the State’s plan forward for appropriately utilizing state prisons and assisting communities which may be adversely impacted by changes in utilization or prison closures.

Because of a variety of factors, Colorado’s prison population has been declining in recent years and there is an excess capacity of prison beds. In 2012, the Colorado General Assembly commissioned the Prison Utilization Study which directed the Office of State Planning and Budgeting to contract for a system-wide analysis that identifies the most appropriate and cost-effective uses of the available public and private inmate beds. Pursuant to statute, the Office of State Planning and Budgeting will work with the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee to develop a plan going forward.

The 90-minute meetings will include representatives from each of the hosting entities and allow time for questions from and open discussion with the audience.

About the upcoming meetings, Gov. John Hickenlooper said, “We are committed to doing everything we can to identify the impacts that changes in prison operations may have on local communities. These meetings allow for a critical dialogue in this process.”

The schedule for these community meetings is as follows:

• June 10: Sterling, Burlington, Limon
• June 11: Colorado Springs, Crowley, Las Animas, Trinidad
• June 12: Pueblo, Canon City, Buena Vista
• June 13: Delta, Rifle
• June 14: Hudson

A list of meeting dates, times and locations follows.

SCHEDULE - COMMUNITY MEETINGS TO DISCUSS PRISON UTILIZATION
JUNE 10 — 14, 2013

MONDAY, JUNE 10, 2013
Sterling, Burlington, Limon

Community Meeting: Sterling, Logan County
Time: 9 a.m.
Address: Northeastern Junior College
100 College Ave
Hays Student Center, 2nd Floor Ballroom
Sterling, CO 80751


Community Meeting: Burlington, Kit Carson County
Time: 2 p.m.
Address: Burlington Community Center
340 S. 14th Street
Burlington, CO 80807

Community Meeting: Limon, Lincoln County
Time: 5 p.m.
Address: Limon High School Cafeteria
874 F Ave.
Limon, CO 80828

TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 2013
Colorado Springs, Crowley, Las Animas, Trinidad


Community Meeting: Colorado Springs, El Paso County
Time: 8:30 a.m.
Address: Citizens Service Center
Pikes Peak Workforce Center, Room 1020
1675 Garden of the Gods Road
Colorado Springs, CO 80907

Community Meeting: Crowley, Crowley County
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Address: Crowley County Senior Center
401 Colorado Ave.
Ordway, CO 81063

Community Meeting: Las Animas, Bent County
Time: 3:15 p.m.
Address: Las Animas Elementary School
531 Poplar
Las Animas, CO 81054

Community Meeting: Trinidad, Las Animas County
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Address: Trinidad State Junior College Student Center
600 Prospect St.
Trinidad, CO 81082


WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013
Pueblo, Canon City, Buena Vista

Community Meeting: Pueblo, Pueblo County
Time: 8 a.m.
Address: Pueblo County Courthouse
Board of County Commissioners Chambers
215 W. 10th Street
Pueblo, CO 81003

Community Meeting: Canon City, Fremont County
Time: 10:30 a.m.
Address: City Hall
128 Main Street
Canon City, CO 81212

Community Meeting: Buena Vista, Chaffee County
Time: 3 p.m.
Address: Community Center
715 E. Main Street
Buena Vista, CO 81211


THURSDAY, JUNE 13, 2013
Delta, Rifle

Community Meeting: Delta, Delta County
Time: 9 a.m.
Address: Delta Courthouse
501 Palmer St.
Delta, CO 81416

Community Meeting: Rifle, Garfield County
Time: 1 p.m.
Address: Colorado Mountain College Auditorium
3695 Airport Road
Rifle, CO 81650


FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013
Hudson

Community Meeting: Hudson, Weld County
Time: 9 a.m.
Address: Hudson Fire Station Training Room
702 Cedar St.
Hudson, CO 80642


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